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Cadbury ad uses AI to promote over 1,800 local businesses - but there's a catch

Screenshot from the Cadbury ad
(Image credit: Cadbury)
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The pandemic and the resultant economic strife has forced many companies to tweak their marketing strategy. Some have taken the conservative route and are playing it safe. But somebody like the chocolate and confectionery maker Cadbury has chosen to be creative and come up with a campaign that markets it beautifully even while chipping in with help to small businesses in individual cities. What more, the Cadbury ad leverages on AI technology and algorithms to merit a place on TechRadar site.     

Quite simply, Cadbury's latest Diwali campaign, conceptualized by Ogilvy, provides an advertising platform to local retailers, whose businesses would have been impacted by the pandemic.

The brand has designed a real-time data experience in the ad where it advertises not just for itself but also for thousands of small businesses across India.

What is the ad and how it works?

The simple ad showcases an Indian family rejoicing the occasion of Diwali, with the woman of the house gifting something to every member of the family.

And this is where the ad gets smart and creative.

The gift for each member of the house is bought from the local stores.

The kicker here is: the displayed names of small stores in the ad change on the basis of the location in which the ad is viewed.

It means, if you are viewing the ad in Pune, you would be guided to small stores in Pune, based on the pincode you are in. If you are Mumbai or Delhi, you would see the names of the small stores there.

The ad ends with the line: "When all of us support our local stores, all of us can have a Happy Diwali".

A campaign like this, where you can see the name of the shop and locality and then Google it if you want, is something that can give the much-needed attention to small businesses.

The small part of technology in the ad

Cadbury has incorporated real-time data experience in the ad where it advertises not just for itself but also for thousands of small businesses across India.

The ad taps into the location data of the viewer. As the company put it, "we leveraged artificial intelligence (AI) and technology to create a hyper-personalised ad to reach reach out to over 1,800 local retailers, across 260 pin codes."

Using AI to collect over 260+ pin codes, the video ad changes from person to person depending on where they are watching it, the company said.

Cadbury developed a geo-targeting algorithm to serve the ad customized to the viewer.

Of course, it also reached out to 1800+ local retailers across 260+ pin codes in India.

Sukesh Nayak, chief creative officer, Ogilvy India, said, “The heart of this campaign lies in generosity, especially in these trying times. This data-driven, localised and personalised campaign captures generosity experienced at a local community level, where we featured local retailers & urged people to remember them while gifting this Diwali.”

As the ad is internet-centric, the brand is  also focusing on online gifting packs this year. For the first time, it has introduced e-commerce exclusive premium packs to make the most out of the new campaign.

But what is the catch mentioned in the headline?

Well, the ad works --- that is, it gives personalized hyper-local shop recommendations --- only in six cities across the India. The cities are: Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Indore, Ahmedabad and Lucknow.

Of course, you should have enabled location on your device.

Further, the ad, as it is dynamic, will work only when you are watching it on Youtube and Facebook. These two platforms lend themselves to provide geo-targeting ads.

The further detail is more crucial: The ad will give hyper-localized recommendations only if you are watching it when it is delivered to you as an ad when you are watching or reading something else.

In other words, if you go searching for the ad on YouTube and Facebook and play it, it won't give you hyperlocalized recommendations. It will play with only the default names hand-picked by Cadbury.

The word from Cadbury is intends to increase the number of cities and locations covered in the ad.

For the record, this is not India's first hyper-personalized digital advertising campaign. The first was apparently by Tata Docomo.

Balakumar K

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.